It’s normal to cave in to the occasional impulse buy - like, snapping up a suddenly irresistible leather jacket in a store window. But about 6% of the population is addicted to shopping and consistently spends more than they can afford. Psychologists call it Compulsive Buying Disorder, and – just like gambling or binge eating – it can cause emotional and financial distress.
So, here are the warning signs that you, or someone you love, could be a shopaholic:
You have mountains of unopened packages, and clothing with the tags still on. Experts point out that shopaholics get a rush of excitement simply from the act of BUYING things - not from using them. And compulsive buying expert April Benson says that shopaholics get a surge of pleasure chemicals in the same areas of the brain as drug addicts do when they take their drug.
After every argument, you grab your wallet and head for the mall.A lot of people get a mood boost from shopping. But shopping every time you have strong negative feelings can be a sign of more-serious emotional problems.
You’re hiding your behavior. Addiction specialist Dr. Ruth Engs says hiding purchases, or juggling accounts to keep your family from finding out what you’re buying – or how much you’re spending - is no different than hiding booze or stashing drugs.